EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. rights to Gold, the Stephen Gaghan-directed film that will star Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez. The deal is in the vicinity of a $15 million minimum guarantee and a P&A guarantee north of $20 million to properly market a release on at least 2500 screens. That is one of the biggest commitments of it kind for a picture package that is ready to go into production. CAA brokered the deal in a hot and heavy auction, and Black Bear Pictures’ Teddy Schwarzman is backing the film. This puts him back in business with the Weinsteins after they collaborated on Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game. The picture will be released under the TWC-Dimension label.
Black Bear is fully financing and shooting begins June in Thailand, New York and New Mexico. Open Road, Focus Features, STX were also in the bidding at those numbers.
For TWC, this makes two buys of major pre-sale titles unveiled for foreign sales at the Berlin Film Festival, where TWC bought The Imitation Game in a festival-record deal in 2014. TWC separately acquired The Founder, the story of McDonald’s franchiser Ray Kroc that will star Michael Keaton. Neither Gold nor The Founder are expected to be ready for this coming Oscar season, but both are the kind of prestige pictures that do well in that Oscar corridor.
Gold has a script by Patrick Massett & John Zinman that is inspired but isn’t the actual story of the 1993 Bre-X Mineral Corporation mining scandal, in which vast amounts of gold were reportedly discovered in the Indonesian jungle. It brings Gaghan back to topical volatile subject matter he covered in his Oscar-winning script Traffic. Schwarzman is producing with Michael Nozik, McConaughey and Masset & Zinman, the writers behind the TV series The Blacklist and Friday Night Lights. Nozik’s Hwy61 partner Paul Haggis is exec producer with Richard Middleton and Black Bear’s Ben Stillman.
Sierra/Affinity is selling foreign territories on the film, and Nick Meyer’s sales company nearly sold this one out to the walls at Berlin. The big deals included Studio Canal (UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand), Eagle Pictures and Leone Film Group (Italy), Scanbox (Scandinavia), Feel Good (Greece), with many other territories spoken for. At that time, CAA was in no rush to broker the domestic rights, and they clearly made a smart move by brokering a near record deal, if in fact it isn’t a record deal.